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Oil, NatGas Shut-Ins Begin as TS Cindy Bears Down on Gulf Coast

Workers have been evacuated from one rig and 40 production platforms in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) and a total of 301,618 b/d of oil has been shut in as Tropical Storm (TS) Cindy continues its slow course toward the Gulf Coast, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) said Wednesday afternoon.

The shut-in oil is equivalent to 17.24% of GOM production, BSEE said. In addition, 10,089 MMcf/d (0.32%) of natural gas has been shut in. No rigs had been moved off location out of the storm's path, BSEE said.

At 1 p.m. CDT Wednesday, TS Cindy was about 160 miles southeast of Galveston, TX, with maximum sustained winds of 50 mph, moving to the northwest at 9 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC). A tropical storm warning was in effect from San Luis Pass, TX, to the mouth of the Mississippi River. Tropical storm-force winds extended outward up to 205 miles, mainly to the north and east of the center.

NHC said it expected the storm to turn toward the north-northwest and then toward the north Wednesday night and Thursday.

"On the forecast track, the center of Cindy will approach the coast of southwest Louisiana and southeast Texas late today or tonight, and move inland over southeastern Texas or southwestern Louisiana on Thursday," NHC said. The storm was expected to produce total rain accumulations of 6-9 inches, with isolated pockets of 12 inches, over southeastern Louisiana, southern Mississippi, southern Alabama, and western portions of the Florida Panhandle through Thursday.

Royal Dutch Shell plc said Tuesday it had taken precautionary steps to secure its assets in the GOM.

"Personnel will remain offshore and we have suspended all offshore flights from heliports located in Central Louisiana. Some well operations have been suspended and production is currently unaffected," the company said.

Likewise, BP plc said Tuesday that non-essential personnel had been evacuated from its platforms without impacts to production. Anadarko Petroleum Corp. said Monday afternoon that it was removing non-essential personnel from its GOM facilities as a precautionary measure.

TS Bret, which NHC had been tracking near Curacao earlier in the week, dissipated Tuesday.

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